Community-driven plan will guide McKinley Park development

First-ever comprehensive plan for the neighborhood will provide policy direction in land use, economic development, housing, mobility and more

A new neighborhood plan for McKinley Park — the first of its kind — will guide future decision-making and development in ways that align with community priorities.

The McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan is the result of three years of work led by the McKinley Park Development Council, Chicago Department of Planning and Development, and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), with extensive input from McKinley Park’s residents, business and property owners, and community leaders. More than 800 residents and stakeholders contributed their input during the formal planning process.

“The plan encompasses a wide variety of issues that the neighborhood is currently facing and provides great comprehensive goals that we as a community can strive for,” said John Belcik, president of the McKinley Park Development Council. “We’re excited to get to work on implementing the high-priority items that will benefit the residents of the neighborhood the most.”

Bikes locked in wall bike racks on a tiled wall

One of the primary goals of the planning process was to fully engage the community. The resulting plan offers a unified vision of what the community aspires to be and provides a roadmap to achieve it.

The neighborhood plan presents six overarching goals:

  1. Preserve neighborhood diversity: Maintain a range of housing options, support local businesses, and celebrate culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse residents.
  2. Promote equitable transit-oriented development: Focus equitable mixed-used development in areas with access to transit and amenities.
  3. Revitalize commercial corridors: Identify infrastructure improvements so that pedestrians, bicyclists, commuters and drivers can move around with ease.
  4. Modernize the Central Manufacturing District: Target new sustainable development and adaptive reuse projects to maintain local jobs and ensure residents’ well-being.
  5. Enhance and expand parks and recreational opportunities: Preserve and expand natural assets, and increase access to natural amenities and community programming.
  6. Create a resilient community: Achieve resilience by making natural systems and economic and social structures more durable for years to come.

The final plan provides recommended strategies for each goal and lists the partners responsible for implementation.

McKinley Park is a diverse, working-class neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side. Its proximity to transportation options, parks and open space, and regional economic centers bolster its potential as a desirable location for residential and commercial investment. However, like many neighborhoods in Chicago, McKinley Park wrestles with reduced housing affordability, disinvested corridors, and unattractive vacancies.

“Working with the McKinley Park community was a fantastic experience,” said Enrique Castillo, associate planner at CMAP. “The residents always had great suggestions, conversations and ideas.”

The McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan was created through CMAP’s Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program.